The festive spirit falters in lean, dry years

By Kate Stewart

Despite a week completely void of lean beef, lamb and salmon - and therefore the roll-on effect of low iron levels and a total lack of Omega 3 - I am on my deathbed, totally surprised that I even have the strength to hold the pen with which I write my draft copy, let alone the necessary brain function required to operate my keyboard, email it to my long-suffering editor who ensures it makes it to print.

With Waffle at my side, fanning me with his tail, I sit and watch as the TV news tells me that, on top of my vitamin deficiencies I am now a prime candidate for diabetes - if not now, then in the not-too-distant future. It's preventable, of course. I just need to make healthier food choices. Well, duh! Like I never knew that. Without the financial means to purchase what should be classed as basics but are now, for many Kiwi families, luxuries, I have about as much chance of effecting change as Michael Laws has of getting an A for attendance.

But I have absolutely no doubt that this latest data will result in multi-million-dollar ad campaigns highlighting the issue again , and various costly reports and inquiries will be commissioned, again. Yet more money wasted. The sheer fact that the problems continue to escalate to all-time highs should be enough to tell even the thickest of the thick that what they are doing now just ain't working.

Give us some credit; we all know what we should be eating and doing, but until fresh food prices come down, waist measurements will continue to be the new growth industry in New Zealand.

In spite of my vitamin-depleted body, I still managed my weekly trudge around the supermarket aisles, thankful for the trolley, as it was the only thing keeping me upright. Thankful, too, that the trolley remained fairly empty. My wasting muscles would have been unable to push a trolley filled with weighty items like T-bone steaks, family roasts, frozen desserts, wine and beer. This week, I caught my first glimpse of a turkey ready for roasting, not that I'm a fan of this great, big, ugly, dry bird with a price-tag to match. Truth be told, I could book a flight to Sydney on a no-frills airline for less. How crazy is that? If only you could purchase said poultry for a paltry price.

Among other festive merchandise that caught my failing, vitamin-deficient eyes was a Christmas stocking so bloody huge it could have doubled as a sleeping bag for Kim Dotcom - or, if you purchased four, they would have made great socks for an elephant. While I'm sure my life forms would be only too delighted to receive such a stocking filled with presents, possible only if I sold my organs to the highest bidder. The only way I can see them getting one is if I buy them as body bags, as opposed to the far more costly option of a standard coffin.

There I go again, voicing my deepest, darkest fantasies, or maybe I truly am delirious as a result of malnutrition. (Neither, actually. It's just another crazed rant from a frustrated frump with a warped and twisted sense of humour).

It saddens me to say that Waffle is not in my good books. Despite his plethora of shoes, bones and doggy toys, he decided that my lounge suite needed a make-over and he set to work transforming it by giving it a minimalistic shabby chic look. I don't think the trend will be taking off any time soon. Yes, I should have sent him to the dog box for time out, to give him time to think about what he had done. Unfortunately I do not have a dog box, so I sent him to the only empty room in the house, the pantry, where I can only hope that he learnt his lesson. I've also confisKated his favourite shoe and cut down on his TV time. He went into a deep depression when I forbade him to watch Dog Squad. Tough love.

On a more positive note, I received some great feedback on last week's column and my national anthem. I am even considering a new career as a lyricist and horrified the life forms when I told them I was considering using it as my audition piece for X Factor New Zealand, when they roll in to Wanganui. Fear not, I'm just kidding.

Seriously, though, as much as I wish our attempts at these rags-to-riches reality shows would work, past shows like Idol have proved pretty disappointing, with all winners falling in to the "where are they now" category. Even NZGT, with the exception of no more than about 4-5 acts, have produced what I think is some pretty average stuff, not helped by the egos on some of those competing and the very flawed voting system that really just comes down to which act has the following with the most money to vote. So, I'm not holding out much hope for X Factor and can't wait to see who we rake up as the mentors/judges.

I think we would do better with shows like The Amazing Race or even our own local talk show. Now, that would be entertaining. I, for one, would love to host such a show. I'd make Jeremy Kyle and Jerry Springer look like a couple of fluffy bunnies. Give me an electrified cattle prod and, trust me, issues would be resolved. Ahhh, a girl can dream.

OMG, I just realised there was no question ... I must be sick! Nevertheless, in spite of all the problems that plague us and the world, there are still plenty of reasons to smile. Find them, share them and enjoy them. Waste no time but watch your waist and, as always, smile loudly. Same time next week, can't wait.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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